The influencers are using their platforms to connect parents who have extra formula or can purchase some with those who are running low. Whitmore has set up an online message board where parents can meet and arrange shipping. Allie Seckel of @theformulafairy has made a Facebook group to facilitate the same thing. They are creating infographics about how to find formula, which formula brands or types can be substituted for another, safety tips for accepting donations from other parents, and warning against misinformation like potentially dangerous homemade formula recipes floating around the internet. And they are sharing the realities of the shortage to try to bring awareness to the extent of the problem.
The current crisis has exacerbated an already emotionally charged health care issue in the U.S.
If your baby isn’t using specialized formula, Dr. Abrams says it’s absolutely okay to switch brands. “There are many variations of infant formulas for colic, gas, neurological development and so forth,” adds Peggy Chapman, M.D., a pediatrician with One Medical in New York City. “In the larger scheme, these are minor differences so try not to get lost in the weeds and focus on feeding your baby.”
If you're searching for a safe substitute for your regular baby formula, switching formula brands or turning to breastmilk donation banks may be among the best options. But you should never dilute formula or try a homemade recipe, experts warn.
Alyssa Rosenberg, a Washington Post columnist, argues that the formula shortage is part of this story. “Babies and their well-being have never been much of a priority in the United States,” Rosenberg wrote this week. “But an alarming shortage of infant formula — and the lack of a national mobilization to keep babies fed — provides a new measure of how deeply that indifference runs.”
The shutdown of a Michigan infant formula plant has disrupted the supply of products that are a lifeline for thousands of people with rare medical conditions.
The shortage has other contributing factors. The U.S. maintains strict limits on imports of European brands of infant formula, despite studies showing that products under European Union regulations have high safety and nutrition standards. Competing brands in the U.S. have attempted to ramp up production to make up for the loss of Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis factory but have encountered supply chain problems.
Baby-formula manufacturers and retailers say they are working to address a long-running shortage in products on store shelves, but the hardships facing U.S. families may take months to abate.
Finding the perfect baby formula for your little one can be challenging even under the best of circumstances. But the ongoing Abbott formula recall coupled with the pre-existing pandemic infant formula shortages have made things even more difficult than usual.
The formula shortage stems from ongoing pandemic-related supply chain snags. Manufacturers are facing difficulty in procuring key ingredients, such as cow’s milk, as well as shortages in packaging and labor.
In addition to stores like CVS and Walgreens limiting formula purchases, the Times reports that private online sellers have been gouging prices.
"It is a real crisis and, in many cases, potentially life-threatening," Dr. Benjamin Gold, a pediatric gastroenterologist in Atlanta, said of the shortage in an interview with NPR.
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Not surprisingly, the most affected parents are those on the lowest income. The federal food program for poorer women, infants and children, called WIC, provides formula for a majority of babies in low-income families. But costs have gone up and formula has become scarcer.
America is enduring its worst baby formula shortage in decades.
Amid a nationwide formula shortage, some parents are D.I.Y.-ing recipes. But pediatricians strongly advise against it.
In the past few months a number of factors have piled pressure on national and global supply chains. These include staff shortages due to COVID-19, increased demand for many products and services following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the war in Ukraine and related international sanctions, and shortages of some commodities.
Is it OK to put more water in baby formula?
No. While it may be tempting to water down formula to stretch it out, it is not safe to do that.
The formula shortage can be stressful, but there are some tricks and workarounds that aren’t as risky as making your own.